On 28th November, 2018 I made a very casual trip to an ancient village town known as Thiruvathigai near Punruti, Cuddulore district in Tamil Nadu state of India.
The district had an unusual visitor just two weeks before my visit there in the name of kaja cyclone leaving havoc on all walks of life.
I was very much determined to go there and did not cancel my journey tickets.
I was very much delighted to pay a visit to the Thiruvathigai (shiva stalangal 108) known for its rich history, art and belief systems and I made it finally to share my thoughts and pictures.
Unique cultural heritage, Tamil literature, poems, hymns and history associated with this historic place dates back to seventh century as per records.
When I stepped into the main gates of Arulmigu veerattaneswarar Hindu temple at Thiruvathigai, I recalled how true the words of Ludwig Mies van der Rohe that “Architecture is the will of an epoch translated into space”.
Architectural style, beautiful carvings and mural paintings on the ceilings of the main entrance mandapa of the temple and dance poses of Bhart Nat yam (Images for bharatanatyam mudras) carved out minutely and chiseled on the granite stone pillars of this unique place testifies the fact that in the history of mankind it is simply not possible to overcome a single day without encountering architecture and technology. It is hundred percent true whenever one visit a space filled with architectural beauty decorated in tradition and history.
I got wonder struck when the temple priest narrated the following unique features associated with the temple.
The shadow of the garbhagiraha Vimanam placed on the top of the main gopura does not fall on the ground at any season of the calendar year.
The idol Panchamuga (5faces) Lingam a rare piece of an architectural wonder placed inside the praharam (see the picture) cannot be found anywhere else. Four faces facing four directions and the fifth facing the sky.
The temple structure is in the shape of ratha (chariot)
Poet saints of Tamil literature Thirunavukarasar, Ginyasambanthar and Sundarar referred this place in their hymns.
One can conduct temple marriages, Shashti poorthi, Bhima ratha and Sada abiskekam functions in the temple premises with the blessing of god Almighty.
Photo by stockresearch52There are around 108 sculptures representing the vivid style of “Thandavas in the dance cult of Bhathanatyam.
Main deity, lord Shiva, popularly known here as Veerattaneswarar, is suyambu with 16 stripes in the face of the lingam.
Temple’s goddess Periya Nayaki has got separate sanathi where Sri Yantra is kept on the ground in front of the goddess.
One can find 5ft Buddha statue also in the open space leading to 16 kaal mandapam.
This unique temple town located near the river Kedilam has very unique feature of producing talents in wooden crafts over nine generations.
I went to Mr.R.Rangachari’s wooden workshop (ninth generation on the job) located on the Palur road to know about rich history behind the preparations of temple wooden carvings, cart, moola vigraham, utsava vaganangal, Kodi maram and so on.
He shared fully his expertise on the type of woods used in all preparations and the traditional tools that are used in the making of these wonderful wooden temples’ decorative with colorful paintings.
In his explanation I could easily notice his vivacity and élan about the ancient temple wooden art and craftsmanship. His minute details on the engineering aspects of the subject conveyed the quality of his sheer passion for the job.
The sad part currently is the dwindling nature of demand for their products. In the same time encouraging aspect is the spread of this unique talent to other parts of the globe. As a result some demand is trickling of late with some business opportunities.